Car accidents are not a rare thing these days. After all, due to the large number of vehicles on the streets of major cities, it is no wonder that accidents happen on a daily basis. Some of those accidents really stand out from the crowd.
Last Sunday, the authorities of Los Angeles confirmed that there was a major accident, when a hit and run driver slammed into an entire crowd of diners on a sidewalk. According to the official reports, at least 8 people were injured.
The accident was caused by a hit and run driver, who slammed into one of the parked vehicles. The vehicle moved ahead all the way and was stopped by a fence. However, by that time, at least several people were underneath the vehicle, according to some witnesses.
Another witness also claims that the driver who caused provoked the accident briefly stepped out of the car for several moments. He then jumped back inside, though people around were forcing him to remain outside, until the law enforcement authorities arrived. Allegedly, the driver was disoriented.
One of the victims, a 44-year-old man, was taken to hospital in a critical condition, and several other victims were also taken to the hospital.
Needless to say, traffic violations are very common these days. Modern society relies on cars – they are a genuinely invaluable part of our transport infrastructure. Hence, it is very important, crucial even, to make sure that you know what to do when a traffic violation has occurred and how to protect yourself from all sorts of different legal consequences.
Traffic violations come in a huge number of different forms. The law enforcement authorities use that term very often and are punishing drivers to prevent similar accidents from taking place in the future. There are two major types of traffic violations that are most commonly taking place on city roads:
Most traffic violations are labeled as minor and are therefore not resulting in expensive fines or incarceration. Instead, you are going to be obligated to pay administrative fees, but you won’t go to trial. However, there is an exception concerning speeding tickets. If you have received too many of those, you may well be required to pay a huge fine or even go to trial by jury.
Of course, most traffic tickets are deemed as strict-liability crimes. This basically implies that whether or not the person had any criminal intentions or maybe did not want to commit the offense to begin with, he or she is still going to be convicted for the crime. There is only one piece of evidence that is needed in such a case – the fact that the crime took place and was committed by that person to begin with. The best examples of such crimes are speeding, failure to yield to other traffic and failure to use turn signals.
There are also serious traffic violations and these may be considered felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances,. Reckless driving is one of the best examples of this. Reckless driving may imply that a person was willfully or intentionally driving in such a manner that he or she was disregarding the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. In that case, the driver will face some serious legal consequences. We are talking about time in county jail, suspension of their driver’s license and a criminal record.
In that case, the prosecution will need to prove that you were driving recklessly intentionally and willfully. And speed alone will not be enough in that case. There will need to be proof that you were actually driving in an aggressive manner and committing dangerous actions — weaving in and out of the traffic, and so on.
Moreover, driving without insurance is a dangerous crime as well. There is a chance that you could lose your license and will face hefty fines and a criminal records. Now, of course, there is a way to dismiss the ticket if you can prove you were actually driving with your insurance. You will need to do so within a set amount of time.
There are a number of additional traffic violations and even though these are pretty common these days, it does not necessarily imply that you can avoid involvement. After all, if you are driving carefully and in a responsible manner, there is a huge chance that you will never have to deal with the repercussions of traffic violations to begin with.
Dmitry Gorin, ESQ
Law Offices of Dmitry Gorin
California laws are very harsh to the potential offenders, especially when it comes to the car accidents as well as hit and run offenses. There are two types of hit and run offenses – the misdemeanor one and the felony. A misdemeanor hit and run offense is when a person damages one’s property and then leaves the scene of the accident without notifying any other parties involved or contacting the authorities. On the other hand, a hit and run offenses is considered a felony in case a person injures or kills another person or a group of individuals during the accident and then leaves the scene without notifying the authorities or any other parties involved. A person can be charged for a hit and run offense even in case he or she did not produce the accident to begin with. Just leaving the scene without identifying yourself to any other parties involved or without notifying the authorities is also considered a crime.
Generally, the punishment for a hit and run offense is determined in accordance with the situation. A misdemeanor offense is punishable with up to $1000 dollars in fines and up to 6 months in jail, whereas a hit and run felony is punishable with up to $10 000 in fines and up to 3 years in jail.
To help you understand the situation, lets review a couple of examples of misdemeanor hit and run offenses and their legal consequences. Lets say you were driving home in the middle of a dark and rainy night. The road is wet and the vision is blurred, so you decide to stop and check if your lights are still working properly. As soon as you hit the brakes, you hit a tree that falls on some shed. The shed is destroyed. You immediately find the nearby house and try knocking on the door several times. There is no answer, so you decide to write down your contact information on a piece of paper and place it on the door. You then get back to your car and drive back home. Little that you know – the rain destroys the paper and the next morning you open the door to a couple of law enforcement officers, who charge you with a misdemeanor hit and run offense. In court, you describe the situation and, seeing that you have no priors, the judge lets you go with only a fine.
On the other hand, if you were getting back from a party while being a bit drunk, hit someone’s fence and left the scene, the situation will differ. The judge will have reasons to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol and therefore will punish you accordingly. One way or the other, regardless of what kind of hit and run situation you found yourself in, it is very important to have a qualified Los Angeles criminal lawyer by your side to help in developing a proper legal defense strategy. Only will an experienced attorney be able to alleviate the legal consequences, so you will not be forced to spend several years in jail. We all make mistakes and it is very important not to allow those mistakes to ruin our lives, especially if we are talking about a simple misdemeanor offense. Perhaps you did not know that you produced the accident to begin with and this makes you ineligible for all the accusations. A good Los Angeles hit and run lawyer will prove his use in court indeed.
Cars and trucks are incredibly important and they basically build up any city’s infrastructure. We use cars to get to work, to take our kids to school and to reach distant places within the very least amount of time possible. Still, even though cars and other vehicles are incredibly convenient, it is hard to deny that car accidents and road accidents in general have a disturbingly consistent rate that grows ever larger every year.
Car accidents happen all the time. Still, in most cases, even people, who actually caused the accident in the first place, stop and try to help other individuals, who were involved in the occurrence. They contact the law enforcement officers, ambulance and fire department if needed. Car accident is no joke and who knows what kind of traumas the other driver may have acquired during the hit. We are people and we all make mistakes, especially in particularly stressful situations, so it is only natural that some of us lose control over our actions and act in line with our instincts. Some people are so shocked that they do not even stop to check the victims and drive further, without looking back. Of course, there is also a large number of individuals, who will not stop because they are just afraid of the consequences and hope to evade any punishment. Nevertheless, not all of the hit and run drivers, who fled from the scene, are evil or soulless. Just think about how you would proceed in their place and do not be way too swift to judge them. After all, who can say what kind of situation may well be waiting for you down the road?
The law is strict and the legislation is clear on the hit and run accidents. Even if the driver, who fled from the scene, was not the one, who caused the accident in the first place, he is still eligible for the punishment and he should be prosecuted due to his irresponsible actions. There are two basic types of hit and run crimes – the misdemeanor ones and the felonies. The misdemeanor vehicle code 20002 VC is largely related to property damage. For instance, if a driver hit someone else’s vehicle and the owner of this vehicle was nowhere near to be found, the driver, who caused the accident, should write down his contact information and place it on the vehicle and contact the police immediately. Failure to do so may well result in a thousand dollars fine and up to a year in jail or even a combination of both types of punishment.
The second type of hit and run vehicle code 20003 VC crimes can be considered as felony if a person was injured or even killed during a car accident. In this case, if the driver did not stop to help the victim and did not contact the authorities, he may well be sentenced up to several years in prison, a ten thousand dollars fine or even a combination of both punishments. Regardless of who may have caused the accident to begin with, the driver that did not stop and fled the scene will be punished in accordance with the state legislation. It is very important to obey the law and to help the victims or to notify them about any property damage you may have caused with you vehicle.
Even if you acted solely on impulses and without thinking straight, you may still have a chance to deal with the issue in a more convenient way, by getting in touch with a genuinely qualified attorney, who would be experienced enough in this kind of cases. Of course, the market these days is literally filled with all kinds of criminal defense attorneys, but you will have to find an expert, who would have a bag of similar cases behind his back and with expertise that would allow you to deal with any unpleasant or distressing consequences. Therefore, if you were acting on instincts and you know that you were wrong to have fled the scene, do not hesitate to find a reliable attorney, who would be able to convince the jury in your good will and good heart. This is the only way to evade a severe punishment and to save your reputation, so you should undoubtedly do your best to find the greatest Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer out there at the earliest opportunity. This is your best hope to avoid jail and to make the criminal consequences much less painful indeed.